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Published: August 10th 2018
This was a ‘steady-as-she-goes’ day as we took our time over breakfast before making our way to Mt Washington, an alpine skiing resort, 1 590m above sea level, with 82 ski runs, receiving 10.5m of snow each winter season. We took the chairlift up and down admiring the view, whether looking down or up, on each ride. Whilst at the summit we walked 3 of the trails to various viewing points, each giving us a different perspective. We had 360 degree views on all occasions so were able to see across the sea to the various islands and to the BC mainland. The views into the valley and up the opposite side to the snow covered mountains were the ones most enjoyed. Bird wildlife, particularly the Whiskey Jack’s, were in abundance and proved to be, surprisingly, very friendly, flying to our outstretched hands to eat the goodies we had enticed them with. Gary and Linda were full of information about the surrounding environment so we were getting a great education about the area too.
We continued onto Cumberland, originally called Union, but renamed by Robert Dunsmuir who built the town, after the town in England. It has a population of
nearly 4 000. Courtenay is much larger with a population of approximately 25 000 and its early history its economy relied heavily on the extraction of natural resources, like coal, logging, fishing, and agriculture. Over the years as this natural resource extraction decreased, Courtenay has focused its economic growth on supplying services to the large retiree community and the military families at Comox, which is the largest employer in the Comox Valley, supplying approximately 1 400 jobs. Tourism has also been steadily increasing and has now become a vital part of the Comox Valley economy. Courtenay is also the home of the critically endangered Vancouver Island marmot. Again it was Gary and Linda’s tourist guide commentary that continued to educate us.
Comox is a town of about 15 000. The First Nations people of the area called the area Kwak’wala and their language was the K’omoks meaning plentiful due to the fertile soil and abundant sea life. When the area was opened for settlement, it quickly attracted farmers, a lumber industry and a fishing industry. For over fifty years, the village remained isolated from the outside world other than by ship until roads and a railway were built into
the area during the 1st
World War. The installation of an air force base near the village during the 2nd
WW brought new prosperity to the area, and in recent years, Comox has become a popular tourist attraction due to its good fishing, local wildlife, year-round golf and proximity to the Mt Washington ski area. The town is also home to a Royal Canadian Air Force base.
Yes, this was a very enjoyable and informative day indeed, capped off by a beautiful dinner, which included the succulent corn brought just before we arrived home, washed down by a good glass of white wine … by … Jane and Linda. We look forward to tomorrow.
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